Be polite and prepared for kindergarten

You’ve gotten the school shoes and selected the scissors in your child’s favorite color.  You’ve even sharpened the pencils because the supply list suggested it.  But is your child really ready for school?

Each year when my five children headed off to Garfield, my greatest hope was that they’d be happy and have friends.  As a kindergarten teacher now, I‘ve that same wish for all my incoming students. And I know the secret to success. It’s helping  children think not just of themselves, but of others as well.

We’re all a little egocentric at times, and children starting school

are sometimes especially self-centered.  Unless we point it out, they’re often unaware of the effects their actions can have on those around them.

You’ve probably already helped your child learn not to interrupt, but many boys and girls haven’t had practice putting their hands up when they want to talk. Silly as it might seem, role playing hand raising during dinner… and then see how crazy things get when everybody tries to talk at once.

It’s not likely that your family lines up to leave the house, but teachers love lines.  Point out to your child that polite kids don’t push in line.

In the early grades politeness equates with popularity. Each semester when my students nominate classmates to win good citizenship awards, they choose children who are polite. They choose children who’re considerate of the feelings of others….kids who share their friendship as well as their supplies.

When I taught preschool we often worked on the concept of sharing.  I remember one little guy who grudgingly agreed to share but only if he could “share first and for a  long time.”  Is your child ready to share?  Set up a few practice scenarios.

Kids need to learn the “rules of the road.”  Your child probably can’t read speed limit signs, but you can point them out.  You can explain that some rules are situational.  Going seventy is safe on an open highway, but dangerous in cities. Climbing up slanted slides may be safe at home but dangerous on a crowed playground. Most children have already discovered that rules at Grandma’s are slightly different from rules you have at home. Take time to talk about how school rules can be different too.

Most schools discourage physical contact, so if yours is a huggy, touchy family prepare your child for a different set of expectations.

Nobody likes a tattletale, and you want your child to be liked. Explain the difference between reporting dangerous activities and tattling to get other kids in trouble. If you’ve a tiny tattle in your house, you might try this response.  “I’m glad you don’t do that.”

Sometimes as parents it’s easier to pick up kids clutter than to monitor the clean-up process.  One coat on the floor might not be a problem, but imagine twenty coats. Some teachers display a sign that says “Clean Up After Yourself – Your Mom Doesn’t Work Here.” Set your child up for school success by “giving” pick-up practice at home.

Be sure your child’s ready, not just with school supplies, but with a kind, respectful attitude toward others.